Dragon boat races event launched with more doubts than certainties

The Macao International Dragon Boat Races will this year have the title sponsorship of SJM Resorts S.A. (SJM), SJM and the Sports Bureau (ID) announced yesterday in a press conference that launched the event.

This year’s edition will take place, as usual, at Nam Van Nautical Center on June 17, 18, and 22.

These are the few certainties about this year’s edition, which is now calling for the registration of local teams.

Team registration will be open from 10 a.m. on March 21 until 10 p.m. on March 31, following which teams must then submit a participants list between April 2 and April 10 in the same time frame. As usual, registration will be accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis until all places are filled.

The applications will be made online through the website (

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the press conference held at Grand Lisboa Hotel, the president of Sports Bureau (ID), Pun Weng Kun admitted that there is still little information on some aspects, such as the total budget for this year’s event, or which teams will participate from the invitational races.

“We hope that this year, since the borders have reopened, we can have teams from other parts of the world to come to participate and to make it [the event] livelier. We also hope that these races can have a positive effect on attracting more tourists to assist the races and [consequently] to contribute to the economic recovery,” Pun said, noting that it is not yet clear which teams might be part of this year’s event.

“We are still checking which teams might be interested in joining the event but we hope we can have teams of high quality,  but we have not yet come to a decision,” he said.

Similar doubts extend to the event budget as well as the participation from SJM, with the president of ID saying, “we are still preparing the budget, we don’t have yet a final amount but just as a reference, back in 2019 it was MOP13 million. Now we will see according to the situation and also take into [account] the public resources. We [are] only going to use what is needed not waste resources. I believe it would be similar to that number.”

It is also not clear, for the time being, what SJM’s sponsorship will amount to, with Pun saying only, “we will have the support from SJM for part of the budget but we are still negotiating that too.”

During the press conference, SJM’s executive director, Daisy Ho, recalled the ties of the company and her father (Stanley Ho) to the event that goes back to the 1960s.

Ho recalled that SJM’s parent company STDM consistently organized the Dragon Boat Races in Macau for 21 years until the year 2000, the year that the event turned international for the first time, noting SJM’s wishes to continue following this historical path under the new call for “Tourism + Sports” development.

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